ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Indian Creek boys' basketball season came to a close Saturday afternoon at Ohio University-Eastern.
The Redskins, who have been through a season like no other, dropped a 62-58 decision to East Liverpool in the Division II district semifinals.
"We just lost a game, but my admiration goes to Cookie West and Lisa Cummings for the courage and determination and love they've shown during this whole thing," Indian Creek coach Joe Dunlevy said.
Indian Creek’s Joe Bowers, left, drives against East Liverpool’s Marky Thompkins on Saturday.
Photo by Mike Mathison
"I want to thank the Indian Creek community, the Ohio Valley community in the way they supported these kids all year. Every school on our schedule, plus some that we didn't play, did things for us, they helped us and I want to thank the people because this is something I've never been through before and never want to go through again.
"I just want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart for what they've done for these kids.
"I'm not worried about the future of our kids. They have dealt with things that kids their age shouldn't have to deal with. I am proud to coach them and I am sure that down the road they'll be successful.
"We have to keep praying for Justin and his family that they have the strength to deal with whatever they have to deal with because this is a long process."
On the court, Indian Creek scored the final seven points on the first half to trail 22-17 going into the locker room.
"It was a little uncharacteristic for us in the first half as far as the turnovers," Dunlevy said. "But, give credit them (the Potters). They played hard.
"We weren't aggressive enough against their zone and that's my fault. Once we started being aggressive, it seemed like we were scoring on every possession just going at them. That's always what we've done is attack and be aggressive.
"We try to get to the foul line and get the other team in foul trouble, but you can't do that if you're turning the ball over. We just kept going at them down the stretch and that's what we wanted to do at the beginning, but we didn't. That's my fault."
East Liverpool came out in the second half in its man defense and the Redskins continued its scoring and closed to 27-25 when Potters coach Nate Conley called a timeout with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
The Potters came out, reverted back to the 3-2 zone, and went on a 9-2 sprint to force Dunlevy to call a timeout 1:43 later.
East Liverpool led 38-31 after three and stretched it to 44-31 with 5:39 remaining in the game when Dunlevy called another timeout.
"Our kids came back," he said. "Our kids just keep playing hard, no matter what the situation is."
The Redskins went on a 12-4 spurt to make it 48-43 with two minutes left when Conley called a timeout.
East Liverpool, though, went 14-for-16 in the fourth quarter at the line, with one miss being intentional.
"You have to give their kids credit for the way they shot free throws down the stretch," Dunlevy said. "I congratulate Nate and his kids. They are a senior-laden team and down the stretch they stuck their free throws.
"They were different this year than they were last year."
The Potters were 19 for 23 for the game.
"We've been like that all year," Conley said. "Our kids did a great job down the stretch."
Bowers finished with a team-high 21 points. Hibbits, a fellow senior, scored 17. Kamarec added 10 and Shane Winland nine.
"What a solid point guard Joe Bowers is," Conley said. "I don't think he missed a shot in the fourth quarter. He is a very good basketball player. I have a lot of respect for him."